Anyone who has started a new physical activity or exercise regimen after a long period of being sedentary knows how painful post-exercise recovery can be. Even if you are an athlete or fitness enthusiast, post workout muscle pain is an accepted part of getting bigger, faster and stronger.
To mitigate the downside of muscle recovery, many athletes and exercise buffs are turning to whole body cryotherapy (WBC) to reduce soreness and accelerate cellular growth and repair. But does cryotherapy really make a difference in muscle recovery?
What the Research Says About WBC and Muscle Recovery
Here are two separate literature reviews that looked at available research from 2010 to date, to see what was discovered about the effectiveness of whole body cryotherapy for muscle recovery:
Review #1: In this 2017 review, Lombardi et al. wanted to see how WBC affected various markers associated with muscle recovery. They concluded that:
- WBC can limit the release of intracellular enzymes after a prolonged cycle of consecutive WBC sessions, limiting cellular damage.
- The majority of reviewed studies revealed WBC-associated improvements in muscular tiredness, pain, and well-being after strenuous exercise.
- The majority of evidence supports the effectiveness of WBC in relieving the whole set of inflammatory symptoms that affect an athlete.
Review #2: Also published in 2017, this review by Rose et al. investigated the effect of whole body cryotherapy on muscle recovery after exercise. They found that:
- Seventy-one percent of the studies examined by the authors reported improved recovery of athletic capacity and performance after WBC.
- Muscle pain was reduced in 80% of studies following WBC.
- Additional benefits of WBC treatment included reduced systemic inflammation and lower concentrations of markers for muscle cell damage.
- WBC may improve recovery from muscle damage, with more consistent improvement after multiple WBC sessions.
- Improvements were seen in recovery from pain, loss of muscle function, and markers of inflammation and cellular damage.
The Takeaway Message
Whole body cryotherapy as a treatment for post-exercise pain and muscle damage is growing in popularity among athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Over the past decade, numerous studies have been done to understand the particular mechanisms by which WBC aids in muscle recovery.
After looking at available study results since 2010, reviewers agreed that WBC is beneficial for muscle recovery, and that multiple sessions appear to yield greater benefits.
WBC in NYC
If you are no stranger to muscle pain from exercise, you understand the importance of recovery in improving overall performance. If you are an exercise novice, WBC can help you recover from the initial pain brought on by unfamiliar exercises.
In either case, WBC is available nearby in historic SoHo, at Advanced Cryo NYC. Schedule your WBC session today, and see why more and more athletes rely on WBC for muscle recovery.
Lombardi, Giovanni, Ewa Ziemann, and Giuseppe Banfi. “Whole-Body Cryotherapy in Athletes: From Therapy to Stimulation. An Updated Review of the Literature.” Frontiers in physiology 8 (2017): 258.
Rose, Catriona, et al. “Whole-body Cryotherapy as a Recovery Technique after Exercise: A Review of the Literature.” International journal of sports medicine (2017).